The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

“Like” T.G.I. Fridays and Help Feed the Hungry

Local T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants have kicked off their third annual “Can For A Fan” virtual food drive benefitting nine regional food banks.

Both restaurants in the greater Charleston area (Southridge and Nitro) will donate one can of food to the Mountaineer Food Bank for each new local Facebook fan who “likes” the chain at

In addition to Facebook, the initiative expands to Pinterest this year. On the T.G.I Friday’s “Can For A Fan” Pinterest board,, users can “like” the Mountaineer Food Bank pinned logo and an additional can of food will be donated.

The drive continues through Dec. 31, or until 5,000 cans have been donated.

Mountaineer Food Bank works to end hunger in the Charleston community through partnerships, innovative programs and community engagement.

Interested in Wild Turkey? Ooh, Yes, YES! … Oh.

So, how’s this for a bait-and-switch?

The National Wild Turkey Federation recently called to ask if I’d be interested in learning more about Wild Turkey.

Heck yeah, I said, suddenly craving a cocktail. But they meant actual wild turkeys.

Oh, alright.

The domestic, farm-raised turkeys most Americans eat on Thanksgiving Day, they say, are nothing like the wild turkey feasted on by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. So here are a few facts about the tasty game bird enjoyed during that first feast:

  • Wild turkeys, now almost 7 million strong, were almost extinct in the early 1900s.
  • Wild turkeys can run up to 25 mph. Just how fast is that? Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest-known human, only averaged 23.35 mph during his world-record 100-meter run.
  • Wild turkeys rarely weigh more than 24 pounds while domestic turkeys regularly grow to more than 40 pounds.
  • Wild turkeys, which have as many as 6,000 feathers, can fly as fast as 55 mph. Most domestic turkeys are too heavy to fly.
  • Wild turkeys have much sharper vision than humans and can view their entire surroundings simply by turning their head.
  • Wild turkeys can make at least 28 different vocalizations, with gobbles heard up to one mile away.
  • Wild turkeys roost (sleep) in trees, often as high as 50 feet off the ground.
  • Wild turkeys were argued by Benjamin Franklin to be a more appropriate choice than bald eagles as our national bird.


The 3 S’s of Fall — Soups, Stews and Side Dishes

When temps start to fall, my taste buds turn to the three S’s of fall – soups, stews and sides.

A creamy potato soup. A chunky beef stew. A filling side dish. The heartier the better!

And soups, especially, are so easy to make at home.

“People are often intimidated when it comes to making tasty soups, but it’s not nearly as challenging as it may seem,” says Ryan Fichter, Executive Chef of Thunder Burger. “Great tasting soups are within reach for everyone to make.”

Here are his 5 tips for making it happen:

  1. STOCK UP. The soup base, or stock, is a big part of the equation. Good tasting stock makes good tasting soup. Homemade is best, but if that’s not an option choose a store-bought kind low in sodium.
  2. MIND THE MACARONI. If you are going to have pasta in your soup, be sure to cook it before adding it in. Many people skip this step, and it can throw off their whole recipe.
  3. FRESH IS BEST. When it comes to any of the ingredients going into your soup, fresh is the best option. If that’s not an option, go for frozen over canned.
  4. USE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT. Using the right kitchen tools is important. Some people prefer to use a slow cooker, which is fine. If you will be using a pot, choose one that is large and heavy. Also, an immersion blender makes easy work of creaming/pureeing soups.
  5. THE FINISHING TOUCH. Enhance the soup’s presentation by using a garnish. Also, most people prefer to have something with their soup, so choose the right addition, such as crackers, biscuits, muffins, bread or breadsticks.

“One of the great things about soup is that it is so versatile,” Fichter adds. “Soup can be a great appetizer, side dish or even a main course. Leftovers also heat up well for lunch the next day.”

Here here, I say.

And here here is his recipe for a simple Creamy Potato Soup. You can bulk it up with veggies or top it off with fresh herbs or crumbled bacon.


Creamy Potato Soup Recipe

2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 ½ pounds of Idaho potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 ½ cups heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

2. Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, allspice, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. With an immersion blender puree soup in blender until smooth.

4. Add cream and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead).

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Love a Veteran? Treat ‘Em to a Free Meal

Two local restaurants are honoring America’s servicemen and women this Veterans Day by offering free meals to anyone who brings in their valid military ID this Monday, Nov. 12.

T.G.I. Friday’s is saying thanks to the men and women who protect our country with lunch on the house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. All they need to do is show proof of service – either a U.S. Uniform Services ID Card, a U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID Card, a Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, a DD214, a photograph in uniform or by wearing their uniform.

In addition to a free meal for veterans this Monday, Texas Steakhouse and Saloon will also give up to five friends and family members dining with military members their own 10% discount.

Texas Steakhouse and Saloon has a long-standing relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that helps injured armed service members. All year long, one dollar of the proceeds from every “Grandma’s Shortcake” sold at the restaurant is donated to the group, resulting in a $51,000 donation.

That’s a lot of cake!